Saturday, September 27, 2003, Chandigarh, India


P U N J A B    S T O R I E S



Gangrape accused rounded up
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 26
The Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Mr Narinderpal Singh, has been personally supervising the investigations into the charges of the alleged rape of a minor girl. The SSP, reportedly accompanied by a board of doctors, today visited the residence of Chanderwati at Gobindgarh village, near Ludhiana airport.

It is learnt that the child along with her mother Chanderwati was sent for medical examination. Some of the accused persons were also reportedly taken away by the police. When the Tribune team visited the spot in the afternoon, a policeman was seen locking room number 51 of Bihari Lal Kar Vehar, where Chanderwati is a tenant. The policeman said he had locked the room as there were a number of things in her room which needed to be taken care of.

The residents of the area feigned ignorance about the incident. They said, they learnt about the incident from the mother of the alleged victim. One of the women, Bimla, said, she had seen the child bleeding from her private parts only and there was no other mark of injury. However, she refused to attribute the bleeding to any specific reason.

While Chanderwati has been alleging that her daughter was raped by six persons, the police has been maintaining that the girl suffered injury after she slid down from a staircase, while she was playing with other children.


Merger of electrical inspectorate into
PSEB proposed
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The technical and supervisory staff of the Punjab State Electrical Inspectorate, a state government department that was in the news recently for a big corruption case, should be merged into the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) after giving a promotion each to the employees.

This is a part of the recommendation made for the restructuring of the inspectorate. The department should be run by taking the technical staff on a deputation or transfer basis from the PSEB for a period not extending more than five years at one time, limiting an employee’s total service in the inspectorate to 10 years.

Sources in the Department of Power told The Tribune that the restructuring had been proposed by Mr Varinder Singh, Chief Electrical Inspector, who was recently sent on deputation from the PSEB as Head of the inspectorate. He wanted to make the inspectorate “a system-driven” organisation from “a person-driven one”.

The inspectorate generates a revenue of Rs 187.33 crore annually, including Rs 1.33 crore from inspections. The remaining revenue comes from electricity duty (ED). The proposal says the revenue from inspections can be enhanced to Rs 17 crore even at the present rate of fees if 100 per cent inspections are carried out as per the rules. And this revenue could be further raised to Rs 85 crore per annum if inspection fees are raised to the levels recommended by the authorities concerned in 1999.

Three models have been suggested to restructure the inspectorate. As per Model A, the inspectorate should be headed by a Chief Engineer. Three Superintending Engineers, 10 Executive Engineers and 30 Assistant Engineers should be put under him, thus reducing the strength of the technical staff to 44 against the sanctioned strength of 50, which has been approved to be raised to 69 by the Finance Department.

In Model B, it has been suggested that instead of chartered engineers, two or more ISO-certified electrical engineering companies of national repute could be asked to perform assigned duties.

In Model C, the appointment of “self-certification agencies” has been suggested as per thinking in the Central Electricity Authority. The sources said most of the inspectorate staff were against the restructuring proposal.

While mooting the restructuring proposal, it has been felt that unlimited powers backed by statutory legal provisions had resulted into an “unbelievable” buildup of vested interests in the inspectorate.

The existing structure of the inspectorate required to be dismantled immediately to enhance revenue and to remove corruption at various levels. Monopoly of certain vested interests in the inspectorate had been responsible for rampant corruption in the past, a senior officer said.

Meanwhile, the sources said all officers posted in the inspectorate had been asked to submit their property returns immediately.


MLAs of different parties form forum
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Politics will get a backseat at the newly-formed Young Legislators Forum of Punjab, which plans to focus primarily on the economic issues for the larger good of the state.

Although Mr Ashwani Sekhri, Punjab Minister of State for Health and Family Planning, who formally announced the formation of the forum today did not say so, it was clear that it was “too much of politics” more than anything else which had compelled the MLAs to sink their differences and join hands to focus on economic issues. Incidentally, the forum has the blessing of both Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.

The forum consists of more than 16 MLAs below the age of 45 years and belonging to different political parties represented in the 117-member State Vidhan Sabha. “ Our political ideologies may be different, but our desire to serve the people is common”, said Mr Sekhri in a talk with TNS. “We feel there are a large number of non-political issues on which we can easily evolve a consensus and adopt a common approach. Why should party politics stand in the way of economic issues which have a direct impact on the wellbeing of the people at large?”

Mr Sekhri said the forum held its first meeting a couple of days ago when it evolved “Punjab Vision —2020” a blueprint for the development of the state . While he himself was the convener of the forum, Mr Manpreet Singh Badal, spokesperson and Chief whip of the Shiromani Akali Dal and a close relation of Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had been appointed co-convener. The forum is patterned on similar bodies operating in other states. It consists of MLAs belonging to the ruling Congress party, SAD, BJP and the Independents.

“The image of politicians has touched a new low in recent days due to a variety of reasons,” admitted Mr Inder Iqbal Singh Atwal, SAD MLA, who is also the whip of the legislative wing of the party. “We may regard ourselves as leaders of the community but I personally feel that people no longer like us because of our various acts of omission and commission. Hence, the need for a concerted effort to salvage our image and prove to the people that we are capable of doing what we have been elected for i.e. improving the lot of the common man. I am sure this forum will go a long way in this direction”.

The forum has chalked out a series of events for the coming weeks. It will organise a seminar on education and employment at Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar on October 6 which will have the governor of Punjab, Justice O. P. Verma (retd), as the chief guest and will be attended among others by Mr R. L. Bhatia, Congress MP. Similar seminars will be held later at Ludhiana, Patiala and Chandigarh.


Ex-Mayor violated building bylaws, claims MC
Rashmi Talwar

Amritsar, September 26
Even though Mr K.S. Kang, Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, has written to the District Magistrate, Mr Raminder Singh, to provide the corporation with adequate security and reinforcement for the demolition of illegal structures constructed by a former Mayor, Mr Subash Sharma, the latter has obtained status quo on the construction from the civil courts.

In his correspondence to the magistrate, the Commissioner noted that, according to a survey report by official of the Building Department of the corporation on August 23, Mr Sharma was still carrying on the construction of six houses against the building bylaws. Mr Kang said notices had already been issued to the defaulting party under Sections 269 and 270 of the MC Act for the violation of the building bylaws behind the Gagan cinema on the Batala road.

Significantly, the report underlined that some anti-social elements were spotted at the site and apprehended that the situation could turn unsavoury if the demolition was carried out. Therefore reinforcement and adequate police force would be required to undertake the demolition.

However, before the administration could swing into action, Mr Sharma had obtained status quo on the said construction. Meanwhile, the corporation reacted promptly and filed a reply to the court citing the illegality of the constructions, informed the Commissioner. The report also noted that despite the MC officials asking the owner to halt the construction, the work was being carried out on a war footing. The inquiry by the Chief Vigilance Officer, Mr A.K. Kansal, had held at least six officials guilty of allowing the constructions. Three top officials namely Mr Hemant Batra, Municipal Town Planner, Mr I.P.S. Randhawa, Assistant Town Planner, and Mr Arvind Mahajan had already been suspended for dereliction of duty. Three others namely Mr Tarlok Singh and Mr Suresh Raj, both ATPs, and Mr Harinder Singh, SDO, were likely to be chargesheeted in this connection as directed by the state Local Bodies Department. The magistrate said the administration would provide all help to the corporation in this regard.


Mayors set to get executive powers
Jangveer Singh
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 26
The Punjab Government is in the process of implementing the Amendment to Section 74 of the Constitution, following which executive powers will be granted to the Mayors in all the four municipal corporations in the state.

All four Mayors in the state representing Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Amritsar have been called for a meeting with state the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, in Chandigarh on September 30. The meeting will also be attended by Local Bodies Minister Jagjit Singh and department Secretary A.K. Dubey.

The Mayors had given a represention to the Chief Minister recently and suggested that amendments to the Section 74 should be made on pattern of the Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh governments. At present all executive powers, including those of finance and transfers, are vested in bureaucrats functioning as Municipal Commissioners in the corporations in the state.

They also pointed out in their representation that in Madhya Pradesh all Mayors had been given powers to spend as much as Rs 50 lakh on development works without seeking the prior permission of the General House. The Mayors pointed out that their position was even worse than the elected presidents of municipal committees, who had been vested with executive powers.

Sources said even though the Congress had made a clean sweep in elections to all municipal corporations and had been able to get its men elected to the posts of Mayor, the incumbents were not happy after realising that they did not have any real powers. The sources said the Mayors had also represented to the Chief Minister that they were finding it difficult to implement the political agenda of the party as they were not vested with full powers.

Local Mayor Vishnu Sharma said the Chief Minister had agreed in principle that more powers should be vested in the Mayors in the state. He said, however, it was up to the government to take a final decision on the matter, adding that all Mayors had been invited for a meeting on the issue on September 30.

Meanwhile, sources said differences were also arising in some corporations due to the “delay” in the implementation of decisions taken by the General House. They said though traditionally resolutions passed by the General House of corporators were to be implemented immediately, there were instances when these decisions were tardily implemented or not implemented at all because the respective Municipal Commissioners had a different view on the matter.

Another decision pertained to payment to be given to persons, who had been kept by various Mohalla Sudhar Committees on a temporary basis to ensure better sanitation in the city.


Probe into students’ thrashing
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 26
Mr Lachhman Singh Brar, the District Education Officer (DEO), Secondary, has deputed Mrs Gurminder Pal Kaur Dhillon, District Science Supervisor (DSS), to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the incident pertaining to the alleged thrashing of more than 12 students of Government Elementary School at Lehra Khana village in the district by a mathematics teacher, Mrs Kiran Bala, on September 22.

Mr Brar said he had ordered an inquiry despite the fact that he found all allegations levelled against Mrs Kiran Bala false when he visited the village and inquired into the incident yesterday.

More than 12 students, including girls, of VI, VII and VIII classes of Government Elementary School were allegedly beaten up by a wooden stick by Mrs Kiran Bala on September 22 when they failed to solve some mathematical problem. Though the students, who have allegedly suffered the wrath of their teacher, have been attending the school regularly, some of them were reluctant to talk about it as they have allegedly been asked to keep their mouths shut about the incident.

After the incident, a section of parents of the affected students expressed their resentment against the treatment meted out to their wards by the teacher while another section of parents, along with some panchayat members and other prominent residents of the village, exonerated the teacher from the charges by passing a resolution mentioning that Mrs Bala had not beaten up any student. They said she had only rebuked them so that they could perform well in their annual examination. Mrs Bala also denied the allegations.

However, a section of students alleged that they were beaten up severely and threatened that they would be rusticated if they disclosed anything to the Press.


Pakistani woman shifted to Amritsar
Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 26
Ramjano, an old and insane Pakistani woman, was shifted from the Central Jail, here today.

After the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr Rajiv Malhotra, ordered her release in a case registered against her under the Foreigners Act, Ramjano was shifted to a camp jail in Amritsar.

Though insane, Ramjano, a resident of Mota Paturi village in Sakargarh tehsil of Sialkot district in Pakistan, expressed happiness when she came to know that she was being shifted to camp jail in Amritsar so that she could go to her motherland whenever the Indian and Pakistani authorities agree to it.

Nobody had taken up the case for her repatriation to Pakistan despite a number of human rights organisations and MPs from Pakistan taking up the case regarding the release of eight Pakistani teenagers, who were lodged in the Observation Home at Faridkot.

Mr Sukhdev Singh Saggu, the Superintendent of the Central Jail, said Ramjano would feel at home at the camp jail as she would find other Pakistani nationals there. He added that Ramjano was handed over to the local police after the Chief Judicial Magistrate ordered her release. The local police shifted her to camp jail, Amritsar. She had been facing trials in a criminal case since September 26, 2002.

Ramjano was arrested from the Killi Bhisiana air force station area of the district while she was roaming there under suspicious circumstances. A criminal case under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act was registered against her. Though the local police questioned her, it could not extract any information as she spoke incoherently. Ultimately, she was sent to the Central Jail.

In the jail, Ramjano, who is about 60 years old, used to remain in isolation. She was treated for her ailment.

Mr Darshan Singh Jeeda, the president of the state unit of the Samajwadi Janata Party, and Mr Amritpal Singh Brar, the general secretary,of the state unit of the Nationalist Congress Party, Punjab have urged the Punjab Government to take necessary steps for early repatriation of Ramjano so that she could reach her motherland and spend the rest of her life with her kin.


RSS chief seeks Cong support against cow slaughter
Tribune News Service

Bheni Sahib (Ludhiana), September 26
The RSS chief, Mr K.S. Sudarshan, exhorted all political parties of the country, including the Congress, to support the campaign against the cow slaughter. He also said there was no difference between the Hindus and the Sikhs and they were like brothers. He was speaking at a function organised here today in the presence of the Namdhari head Satguru Jagjit Singh and the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president, Mr H.S. Hanspal.

Making a passionate plea against the cow slaughter he pointed out, Satguru Ram Singh and Mahatma Gandhi had taken up the issue years before the Independence. He regretted that even after 56 years of Independence the cow slaughter was still going on in the country. “Both Satguru Ram Singh and Mahatma Gandhi stood for swadeshi and launched a movement against the cow slaughter,” he said, while regretting that the issue was politicised.

The RSS chief turning to Mr Hanspal said, “most of the successful movements of the Congress had their foundations in swadeshi and against the cow slaughter”. He urged the Congress to cooperate with the government to ensure that the cows were not slaughtered in the country.

Coming to the favourite theme of the RSS that Sikhs were only a part of the Hindu religion, he said, there was no difference between the two. Sikhs had stood for the safety of the Hindu religion and regretted that attempts were being made to divide the two brothers. He lauded the sacrifice of great Sikh gurus.

Clarifying his presence at the dais, the PCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, argued that it was wrong to presume Mr Sudarshan as the representative of the BJP. He said the RSS stood for the same principles like that of the Namdharis, while pointing out that both, the RSS and the Namdharis believed in complete swadeshi and were against the cow slaughter.


Chandumajra to fight from Patiala
Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 26
Former minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Ajaib Singh Mukhmailpur today said party General Secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra would be the party’s candidate for the Patiala Lok Sabha seat in the coming elections.

Mr Mukhmailpur, who felicitated Mr Chandumajra at the function organised at Gurdwara Nim Sahib at Akar village near here, said the party General Secretary would be able to ensure a humiliating defeat at any candidate fielded by the Congress. Mr Mukhmailpur had lost the last elections from the Ghanour Assembly constituency which forms part of the Patiala parliamentary seat.

Mr Chandumajra while speaking on the occasion, said though unity had been achieved between the SAD and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra’s faction, it was necessary to create unity amongst party workers at the grassroot level. He said SAD President Parkash Singh Badal had already announced that meetings would be organised at the grassroot level to iron out all differences between Akali workers and create a strong team which could take on the Congress in the coming elections.

Mr Chandumajra was earlier taken to the public gathering at the head of a cavalcade of scooters and cars. He also announced that a Kisan Sammelan would be organised on October seven at Harpalpur village in which Union Minister Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa would be the chief guest.


Ex-MLA Raunta expelled from CPI

Moga, September 26
Mr Ajaib Singh Raunta, a former MLA of the CPI, was today expelled from the primary membership of the party for his alleged anti-party activities.

This was announced here by Mr Randhir Gill, the secretary of the Moga unit of the CPI.

Mr Gill said Mr Raunta was expelled from the district unit during the CPI annual district conference in August, 2002 on these charges.

“The party has received a large number of complaints against Raunta regarding his anti-party, anti-social activities and even of charges of corruption which were probed and found correct”, he said.


Army officer killed in J&K cremated
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 26
Lt Kanavdeep Singh of 10 Sikh Light Infantry who sacrificed his life during an encounter with militants at Guraj sector in Jammu and Kashmir on September 23, was cremated with full military honour here today.

Popularly known as Lt KD Singh amongst his colleagues, this Amritsar resident was recruited to 10 Sikh Regiment in January, 2001 after completing BSc from Khalsa College here.

Jawans of 16 Sikh Regiment reversed their arms and fired in air to pay homage to the martyr at Gurdwara Shaheed Baba Deep Singh cremation ground. Earlier, they brought his body with full military honour from his residence to the cremation ground. The pyre was lit by his elder brother Manavdeep Singh. Lt Kanavdeep is survived by his brother and two sisters, Sukhdeep Kaur and Amandeep Kaur, besides mother Rajbir Kaur.

Capt Mukesh Chohan, who brought the body from Jammu, said the Army troops had been fighting with militants in Guraj sector for more than two days. On September 23, Lt Kanavdeep Singh fired a rocket at militants. The militants retaliated, in which he got killed.

Among those present there were Prof Darbari Lal, Education Minister, Mr Raminder Singh Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kultar Singh, SSP, Col Surinder Dhankhar, Col J.S. Arora, Major Tanvir Malik, Major Punde and other military officials.


Sculptor awaits funds to fulfil dream
Romesh Gupta

FARIDKOT: Manjit Singh, a young sculptor (32), has given a new dimension to the promotion of sculpture.

In the past 12 years, he has carved hundreds of portraits of national heros, martyrs, freedom fighters and patriots, saints, renowned Punjabi writers, folk singers and many other national personalities through stones, clay modelling, woodwork, fibre glass and cement.

A large number of his sculptures, including those of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev, Udham Singh, Kartar Singh Sarabha, Baba Uttam Singh Haans, Baba Nidhan Singh Chugga, General Mohan Singh, Lal Chand Yamla Jut and Didar Singh Sandhu, have been put up at prominent places in Ludhiana, Moga, Jagraon and various other parts of Punjab. He also has to his credit the installation of sculptures of Bhai Kanahiaya and those related with brave Sikh soldiers at Anandpur Sahib, besides Munshi Prem Chand, Banda Bahadur and Bulle Shah at Chandigarh. A rare sculpture of two sisters depicting abstract art prepared by him has also been erected at Art College, Chandigarh.

The young artist, a resident of Ghalkalan village in Moga district, who has received a large number of state and Lalit Kala Akademi awards for his work, was here to participate in a four-day painting workshop organised by the District Cultural Society on the eve of the nine-day Aagman Purab celebrations related with Sufi Saint Baba Sheikh Farid which began here on September 15.

Talking to this reporter, he said he was more interested in carving out sculptures of the brave men who had been forgotten by society in spite of their commendable performance for the welfare of society in different fields in the country.

He has plans to set up a museum and a sculpture centre at Chandigarh, but non-availability of adequate funds and proper land are creating hurdles to his scheme.

Manjit Singh says the late state Governor Surendra Nath had played a significant role in bringing him to limelight. He had got him admitted to Art College, Chandigarh, in 1993 and had assured to provide help for the promotion of his art. The plans went awry after the death of the Governor in a plane crash.

Manjit Singh says he was interested in becoming an artist from his childhood. He was good in drawing in his school days. However, he had to perform the job of a mechanic in the village after clearing his plus-two examination in 1989 due to non-availability of proper facilities to fulfil his dream. But this did not curb his ambition. He prepared a cement model of martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha in 1990 and a clay model of Prof Mohan Singh in 1991. He was conferred an honour by the then Governor, Surendra Nath, for the work at Ludhiana the same year. In 1992, he was also awarded by then Chief Minister Beant Singh at Ferozepore for carving a model of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. In 1993, the sculptor got admission to Art College, Chandigarh, and cleared his degree course in the top position.

He has a younger brother, Surjeet Singh, and two sisters Sukhjit Kaur Gill and Harjit Kaur, who have also done well in different fields. Sukhjit is a renowned international athlete who bagged the first position in 400x400-metre race held at Barcelona in Spain in July. Harjit is a columnist of some vernacular newspapers and Surjeet a sculptor.


Workshop for police personnel
Our Correspondent

Fatehgarh Sahib, September 26
The district police organised a one-day workshop for police personnel and their families here yesterday. It was conducted by Dr Pardeep Jain, Associate Professor and Mr Manoj Kumar Goyal, Senior Lecturer from SLIET Longowal. All gazetted officers, SHOs, I/C units and hundreds of police personnel participated in the workshop.

Dr Jain dealt with stress management, inter-personal skills and understanding of body language. Addressing the workshop, he highlighted the need for better communication skills for policemen, which would enable them to enhance their image in society. He said that just by talking in a pleasant way, they would be respected by the public as without the support of the public, nothing could be achieved. He said that there is a lot of work stress on the police and they should avoid unnecessary tensions and controversies. He also discussed various types of stress and means to manage stress.

In the second session of the workshop, family members of the policemen were also involved. It was highlighted that a happy family life for policemen was necessary as they had to face the wrath of the public and their seniors during duty time. The family members were urged to keep them happy and cooperate with them.

Mr B. Chandra Sekhar, SSP, said that the workshop had been organised to create awareness among the police about the changing trends of life and effective working. He said that more such workshops would be organised in future. Besides, computer culture in the working of the district police had been developed, he added.


Traders in fix over Army’s objection
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 26
After a legal battle which continued for about six years, the erstwhile occupants of the local fruit and vegetable market, who had finally relented to shift to an alternative site, are in a fix. Nearly, 40 of these persons were given immediate allotment of alternative shops as direct owners. The remaining 32 persons, who laid claim for allotment on grounds of being sons or brothers of actual owners, were finally allotted new sites recently in the same area.

However the army has raised serious objections in this regard.

Commander, Army Ordinance Corps, has issued a letter of objection, in which it has been stated that new constructions or any agricultural activity — like the burning of crop stubble could be dangerous to the Army’s sensitive ammunition dump and should be banned in 1,000-metre radius of the Army area.”

This has left 32 new owners high and dry, who have paid Rs 5.77 lakh each for the alternative sites which is about Rs 1.5 lakh more than the earlier cost. The construction activity came to a halt a few days ago after Army officials ordered the construction to be stopped.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Raminder Singh, said SDM-I, Mr Bhupinder, had been deputed to demarcate and assess the area falling in objectionable zone and prepare a plan so that open spaces in the plan could be swapped for construction sites beyond the area of objection.


Stop encroachment of Sikh shrines, Pervez urged
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 26
More than 100 Sikh shrines in Pakistan have been encroached by Pakistani people, including some historical places, Mr Harpal Singh Bhullar, president, International Bhai Mardana Society, has said in a communication to Gen Pervez Musharraf.

Mr Bhullar said the former Chairman of the Pakistan Aukaf Board had promised to look into the matter.

He said the society, in addition to handing over these Sikh shrines to the Pakistan Aukaf Board, has made certain other demands which included construction of a university after the name of Guru Nanak Dev in Punjab, reservation for Sikhs in government jobs in Pakistan, renaming of Faisalabad Express to Nankana Sahib Express and beautification of Nankana Sahib.

Mr Bhullar said that all money transactions in gurdwaras should be made transparent and any income out of it spent on the gurdwaras.


SPG security for Chander Shekhar demanded
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, September 26
Mr Darshan Singh Jeeda, president, Samajwadi Janata Party (SJP), Punjab unit, today urged the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, to provide the Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover to a former Prime Minister and national president of the SJP, Mr Chander Shekhar, who had been facing attacks on his life for the past three years.

Talking to mediapersons here this evening, Mr Jeeda alleged that though Mr Shekhar was an international personality, the BJP-led NDA government had withdrawn his SPG security cover on flimsy grounds despite constant threats to his life.

He said while the NDA government had provided the SPG security cover to the fundamentalists like Mr Ashok Singhal and Mr Parveen Togdia, why Mr Shekhar was being deprived of it despite an attack on him in August 2003, while he was travelling on Maghad Express train. Mr Shekhar was also attacked about two years ago, but he was saved by the SPG personnel accompanying him.

Mr Jeeda pointed out that a memorandum in this connection would be submitted to the Governor, Punjab, Mr O. P. Verma, by the party in Chandigarh next week. A memorandum had already been submitted to the Deputy Commissioner, Bathinda, by the district party president, Mr Baldev Singh Chahal.


Ravi Inder for Ranjit Singh as Takht chief
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 26
Mr Ravi Inder Singh, President of the newly floated Akali Dal, today announced that his party would leave no stone unturned to re-install Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takht if it was voted to power in the coming SGPC elections.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Ravi Inder Singh said that the victory of the Sarna group in the DSGMC elections was the first step towards the ouster of Mr Parkash Singh Badal from the Sikh political arena. “It is a clear-cut verdict and an indication that Sikhs in Delhi do not want Mr Badal and his associates to run the political affairs of the Sikhs,” said Mr Ravi Inder Singh.

Mr Ravi Inder Singh said Bhai Ranjit Singh had played an important role in the DSGMC poll and had saved it from going into the hands of people with vested interests. He said the Badal faction would lose the SGPC elections.

He announced that Mr Ranjit Singh Chajjalwadi and Mr Darshan Singh Lassapur had been appointed vice-president and secretary-general of the new Akali Dal, respectively. Mr Manmohan Singh Sathiala had been appointed the general secretary of the new Akali Dal.


Techno-opus 2002 inaugurated
Our Correspondent

Ferozepore, September 26
The two-day inter-state technical festival, “Techno-opus 2002” and the second annual convention of the ISTE (North India chapter) being organised by the local Shaheed Bhagat Singh College of Engineering and Technology was inaugurated here today. About 400 students from various technical institutes of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh attended the opening day of the event.

The feat being organised with the theme, “Developing Meaningful Technologies: India 2020” was inaugurated by Mr Ravinder Singh Sandhu, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab Government. While addressing the students and the lecturers from various engineering institutes, Mr Sandhu appreciated the involvement of the students in the fest.

He appreciated the effort of the college to organise the event in the border area. He also stressed on the need of organising more such activities to make technical education more relevant and of practical use. He called upon the students to inculcate the spirit of social service and spearhead the scientific temper in the country.

Mr Sandhu asked the students to retain the qualities of teamwork and brotherhood and inspired them to take on the entrepreneurial ventures and excel with the help of cooperation.

Dr Jaswant Singh, SDM, assured all possible help from the district administration to make the function a success.

The Principal of the college, Dr R.P. Singh, emphasised on changing role of education and talked about the new challenges, which the professionals have to take up in 21st century.

Mr Rajbir Singh Bhatti, faculty in charge, ISTE, said the festival had evoked tremendous response across north-western region with more than 400 students of various colleges participating in the show.


Agarsain’s anniversary celebrated
Tribune News Service

Sangrur, September 26
Birth anniversary of Maharaj Agarsain, the founder of the Aggarwal community, was celebrated with enthusiasm by the local Aggarwal Sabha here today.

A “prabhat pheri”, led by Mr Lovlesh Kumar Singal and Mr Ashi Goyal, president and office-secretary, respectively, of the local Aggarwal Sabha, was taken out through the town. Later, a function was also organised at the local Aggarwal Bhavan to mark the anniversary. Mr J.R. Singla, ETO, hoisted the flag of the Aggarwal community.

Mr Lovlesh Kumar announced that the sabha would publish a directory of all Aggarwals residing in the town to associate them with the sabha and seek their participation in the functions and affairs of the Aggarwal community.


Ex-Maharaja for samadhi upkeep
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Former Maharaja of Kapurthala, Brig Sukhjit Singh, has urged the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee to immediately undertake work for restoration of “samadhi” of Baba Jassa Singh Ahluwalia in the Golden Temple complex.

Reacting to a news report in these columns early this month that the “samadhi” was in a state of neglect, Mr Pritpal Singh, Private Secretary to the former Maharaja, said Baba Jassa Singh was not only the founder of erstwhile Kapurthala State, but also a great leader, a devout Sikh and a warrior.

The former Maharaja has offered to place at the disposal of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Rs 50,000 for immediate repair and restoration of the “samadhi”. “In case this is not possible, you may allow us to do the restoration work immediately,” a letter by Mr Pritpal Singh to the Secretary, SGPC, said.


Illegal detention of granthi alleged
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 26
Baba Balwinder Singh, resident of the Rajasansi area and a granthi at Gurdwara Dera Baba Buddah, near Jalandhar, has allegedly been kept in illegal detention by the Rajasansi police for the past few days.

Alleging this, Mr Amarjit Singh Asal, district secretary of the CPI, in a press statement said he had not been presented in court.

Mr Asal said he had some property dispute with a party and had been declared proclaimed offender by the police in this regard. He alleged that Balwinder Singh had been kept in illegal detention under pressure from the opposition party. He said he had contacted Mr G.S. Sahota, DIG border range, in this regard and he had directed Mr Sandeep Sharma, DSP, to take action and release him from detention. When contacted, the DSP said he did not know of the case.


Phagwara NRI was poisoned
Our Correspondent

Phagwara, September 26
The June 7 death case of an NRI Gurpartap Singh of local Sarabha Nagar had taken a new twist with the viscera report confirming that the death took place by poisioning and police booking Gurpartap’s wife Rajwinder Kaur, father-in-law Tarsem Singh, alias Baldev Singh and brother-in-law Laddu of Ajnoha village under Section 302 and 34, IPC, following a complaint by Gurpartap’s mother, Rajinder Kaur, that her son had been murdered by his wife and in-laws for grabbing a Phagwara based property worth crores of rupees.

Gurpartap Singh was settled in the USA but after his marriage wanted to settle here which was opposed by his wife and in-laws. It may be mentioned here that Gurpartap who had died on June 7, was cremated on June 12 only after his mother had arrived from the USA.


Langoorwala mela starts
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 26
Hundreds of devotees thronged the famous Langoorwala mela, which started on the premises of Bada Hanumana Mandir in the Durgiana Temple here today. A large number of children, dressed as langoors, along with their parents and other family members paid obeisance.


Hope for children of SGPC staff
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
Children of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) members can now hope to avail the benefit of reservation in the MBBS and BDS courses. Taking up a petition, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has quashed a memorandum restricting the benefit of reservation to the sons and daughters of SGPC employees.

Pronouncing the orders in an open court on a petition filed against the Sri Guru Ram Dass Charitable Hospital and Trust, Amritsar, the Bench, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, ruled: “A writ is issued directing the respondents to consider the petitioner’s case for admission to the MBBS or BDS course under the reserved category”.

In her petition, Navpreet Kaur had sought the quashing of a corrigendum dated June 19 and a memorandum dated June 28 vide which “the eligibility for admission under the reserved category had been materially altered to the detriment of the petitioner.”

Giving details, she had added that the alteration had restricted the benefit of reservation to the candidates who were by birth the sons and daughters of SGPC employees. After hearing the arguments and going through the record, the judges concluded: “The petition is allowed. The corrigendum dated June 19 and memorandum dated June 28 are hereby quashed”.


Pleas on NRI quota in medical colleges allowed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today allowed a bunch of petitions challenging a notification issued by the state of Punjab on July 25 whereby NRI quota seats for admission to MBBS and BDS courses was cancelled.

In the petitions, Sri Guru Charitable Trust and Hospital at Amritsar and others had earlier stated that the quota was cancelled even though as per a previous notification issued on May 14, seats had been reserved in the NRI quota. After going through the documents and hearing the arguments in the case, a Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Mr Justice S.S. Nijjar and Mr Justice S.S. Grewal, directed the state and other respondents to admit students in the seats reserved in the NRI quota in accordance with the May 14 notification.



Five sentenced to life for murder

Moga, September 26
Five persons were sentenced to life imprisonment for committing a murder three years ago by the court of Additional Sessions Judge Manmohan Singh Chawla here today.

Those sentenced were — Jugraj Singh, Jatinder Singh, Tej Inder Singh, and Surjit Singh, all residents of Amargarh Kaler village in Ludhiana district, and Swaran Singh of Ajiala Kalan, also in Ludhiana district.

The prosecution had charged them with murdering Gurdev Singh over a land dispute in Jawaharsinghwala village in Moga district on October 23, 2000.

It was alleged that Jugraj Singh opened fire with his double barrelled .12-bore gun, killing Gurdev Singh on the spot, while Jaswinder Singh and Jaswinder Kaur were hurt in the clash with the five assailants over ownership of 36 marla and 19 kanals of land the latter were tilling in the village.

The accused had been booked under Sections 302, 307, 447, 427, 148 and 149 of the IPC. — UNI


Seven engineers suspended
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 26
The Punjab Government today ordered the suspension of seven engineers of the Public Works Department in connection with “substandard work” on a road in Ropar district.

Among the suspended are two Superintending Engineers, one Executive Engineer, one Sub Divisional Engineer and three Junior Engineers. Action against these engineers has been ordered by the PWD Minister, Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, on the basis of an inquiry conducted by the authorities concerned.

Sources said today that a portion of the national highway was constructed near Sirsa nadi bridge on the Ropar-Anandpur section of the road. However, a part of the road collapsed immediately after it was thrown open to traffic. The collapse was caused by a rainfall.

Following a complaint regarding the damage caused to the road, Mr Bajwa visited the spot and ordered the inquiry. It was found during the course of inquiry that material was not used as per specifications while constructing the road.

When contacted, a senior officer of the department commenting on the action taken against the engineers said it appeared that action had been taken in haste at least against one of the engineers, who was posted in the Ropar circle only a few weeks before the completion of the work on the road.


Tehsildar suspended
Our Correspondent

Gurdaspur, September 26
The Punjab Government has placed under suspension Tehsildar Udham Singh and Naib Tehsildar Phumman Singh for allotting Defence Department land in the district as Central Government land to several persons.

According to revenue records, 34 kanals of land in Wazirpur Jattan village of the district belonged to Central Government’s Defence Department. The erring officials were entitled to allot Central Government land (evacuee property) at reserve price. Sources said the land belonging to the Defence Department could not be allotted.


Constable suspended
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 26
The district police has suspended Amarjit Singh, a constable, for showing negligence and lack of concern while taking a prisoner, Jagtar Singh to the district court here today. Jagtar Singh dodged the constable and fled away when they were returning after presenting him in the court yesterday.

Jagtar Singh was arrested on the charge of murder and for smuggling narcotics. A case has been registered under Sections 223, 224 of the IPC against him.


CBI files charge sheet against 26 for defrauding FCI
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 26
The CBI has presented a chargesheet in the CBI court at Patiala against a number of rice millers of the district and officials of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for causing a loss of Rs 1.80 crore to the FCI. The chargesheet has been filed against 26 persons under Sections 420 and 120-B of the IPC read with offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988.

According to information available here today, 13 rice millers of Bareta had defrauded the FCI in connivance with its official. Following complaints, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered an inquiry into the case by the CBI. During investigation, the CBI had found that Mr M.S Tomar, Mr P.N Aggarwal and Mr J.R. Monga, all Technical Assistants Grade-II of the FCI, and rice millers Mr Pawan Kumar Singla, Mr Prem Bansal and others had replaced good quality rice of the FCI with inferior quality rice.

The CBI took 53 samples of rice and all were found to be below the standard of the FCI. It found that the rice millers in connivance with the FCI officials sold the good quality rice of the FCI in the open market and replaced it with inferior quality rice purchased from the market. The FCI officials used to certify such rice as of good quality.


Dacoits strike at ex-serviceman’s house

Kapurthala, September 26
About 10 dacoits entered the house of Captain Nazar Singh (retd) at Kadupur village near the town and seriously injured him, his wife and grandson yesterday night, the police said today.

In an FIR registered on a complaint of Captain’s grandson Ravinderpal Singh, the police said three dacoits armed with sharp-edged weapons entered the house of Capt Nazar Singh and attacked him, Pritam Kaur and Ravinderpal Singh while they were asleep.

The Captain said dacoits also took away the licenced revolver belonging to Capt Nazar Singh.

All the injured have been admitted to a hospital.

The police said dacoits were in the age group of 18 to 20 and their faces were covered. They, however spared the servant of the house.

The police has rounded up the servant for questioning. — PTI


Two held for remarks against Balmiki
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 26
Following protests by a large number of people belonging to the Balmiki community in front of Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1 in the Cantonment area the police arrested a school teacher and a printer, who had allegedly published a magazine in which derogatory remarks were allegedly used against Maharshi Balmiki.

A large number of people from the community converged in front of the Kendriya Vidyalya and a cantonment-based printing press and shouted slogans against the teacher, Chandresh Kumar, and printer, Rakesh Kumar, who had allegedly brought out a booklet. Bowing to the pressure the police finally arrested both of them.


1,771 fake CDs seized
Our Correspondent

Mansa, September 26
A CIA team raided shops of Sonu, proprietor of Khan Video Parlour, Sat Paul, proprietor of Raj Video Parlour, Joginderpal, proprietor of Deepark Video Parlour, Harish Kumar, proprietor of Rohit Video Parlour and Gulzari Lal, proprietor of Amuse Video Parlour, and recovered 1,771 fake and obscene CDs. Satpal, Joginderpal, Gulzari Lal and Sonu were arrested on the spot while accused Harish Kumar is yet to be arrested.


Students thrashed by SHO; complain to DC, SSP
Our Correspondent

Ropar, September 26
Students of the local government college and activists of the Student Federation of India (SFI), who were holding a meeting at the college in connection with the setting up of a local unit of the SFI, were allegedly picked up and thrashed by the SHO Ropar, Mr Balwant Singh Majithia.

SFI state president, Harmandeep Singh alleged that the SHO forcibly stopped students from participating in the meeting. Later, when a delegation of SFI activists, including Surjit Singh, Parminder Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Harmandeep Singh, was moving towards the residence of the Ropar SSP to complain against the police, they were picked up from the main gate of the mini-secretariat by the SHO.

The SHO took them to Maharaja Ranjit Singh Park and beat them up mercilessly. After thrashing, the activist were threatened with dire consequences and ordered to disperse from the spot.

SFI leaders also met the Deputy Commissioner, Ropar, Ms Seema Jain, to submit a complaint against the SHO. They also submitted a complaint in the office of the SSP.

They threatened to launch an agitation on Monday, if the authorities failed to take action against the SHO. They also condemned the college administration for trying to suppress the democratic right of the students of form a student union.

Police presence on the campus and students’ harassment was a regular feature, they alleged.

The SHO, when contacted on phone, said he had just dispersed the students from the college campus on the request of the Principal.

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